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Fall Fest: Hearty Spinach and Sausage Soup Recipe

I’m thrilled that Fall is here.  The days here are still really warm but the nights have been cooling down nicely allowing for perfect brisk mornings that make me dream of pumpkin carving and apple pies.

But spinach?  I can’t say I dream of that often.  Well, spinach is the theme for this first week of Fall Fest so I pushed aside my thoughts of pumpkins and apples and decided to make a hearty soup chock-full of spinach and sausage, perfect for the cooler weather that seems to be on its way.

I bought spinach and sausage specifically for the soup, but the rest of the ingredients were just things hanging around my kitchen that needed to be used up.  Please just use the recipe as a jumping off point and feel free to throw in whatever you happen to have hanging around your kitchen.

I think this soup would be very good with white beans or pasta if you don’t want to use barley.  To tell you the truth, I had intended to use barley but accidentally threw wheat berries in there instead (this is one of the problems with buying grains in bulk and then forgetting to label the bags).  The wheat berries were fine, though they took longer to cook than the barley would have.  But I really wanted barley in the soup, so that’s what I listed on the ingredient list below.  Beans, barley, pasta, rice – do whatever you want!

Even with the accidental wheat berry addition, I adored this soup.  The spinach, sausage, and chunky potatoes were a great combination and I know that it will taste even better once it sits overnight.  Can you guess what I’ll be eating for lunch this week?

Spinach and Sausage Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 stalks of celery, sliced
1 pound red potatoes, cut into bite size pieces
5 – 6 cups chicken stock (homemade, or low-sodium broth)
1/2 cup pearl barley
1 pound mild Italian sausage
1 large bunch of spinach, thick stems removed, roughly chopped (about 4 cups, packed)
salt, to taste
herbs or seasonings of your choice – I used some fresh thyme

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add onions, carrots, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes or until onions are softened.  Add potatoes, 5 cups of stock, and barley.  Turn up heat, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30-45 minutes or until barley is tender.  Meanwhile, squeeze sausage from its casings, crumble and brown it in a skillet.  Drain fat and set the sausage aside.  When barley is tender, add spinach and sausage to the soup and fresh herbs if you are using them.  Add more stock if necessary or desired, bring soup back up to a simmer and let cook for another 15 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serves six.

How You Can Join in Fall Fest 2010

Welcome to Fall Fest!  Have a recipe or tip that fits any of our weekly themes? You can contribute to our online recipe swap in various ways, big or small.

Contribute a whole post, or a comment—whatever you wish. It’s meant to be fun, viral, fluid. No pressure, just delicious. Simply leave your tip or recipe or favorite links in the comments below a Fall Fest post on my blog, and then go visit my collaborators and do the same.

The cross-blog event idea works best when you leave your recipe or favorite links (whether to your own blog or someone else’s) at all the host blogs. Yes, copy and paste them everywhere! That way, they are likely to be seen by the widest audience. Everyone benefits, and some pretty great dialog starts simmering.

Or think bigger: Publish entire posts of your own, if you wish, and grab the Fall Fest 2010 pumpkin badge (illustrated by Matt of Matt Bites).

Summer/Fall Fest 2010 Posting Schedule

7/28: Cukes and Zukes
8/4: Corn
8/11: Herbs, Greens, and Beans
8/18: Stone Fruit – I missed this one!
8/25: Tomatoes
9/1: Sweet and Spicy Peppers
9/8: Garlic
9/15: White (or colorful “white”…but not sweet) Potatoes
9/22: Spinach
9/29: Apples
10/6: Fall Salads
10/13: Pumpkin + Winter Squash
10/20: Pears
10/27: “Mad Stash” (as in what you’re shoving in freezer/jars/dehydrator, etc.)
11/3: Root veggies
11/10: Brassicas: incl. Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, Cabbage or other
11/17: Sweet Potatoes
11/24: Bounty to Be Grateful For

Other Fall Fest Attendees Celebrating Spinach: